Doctoral Project Funding

Find out about eligibility and entry requirements for the PhD programme at Massey

Current Opportunities - 


Tackling cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases

Research opportunities with the Maurice Wilkins Centre, Centre of Research Excellence

Bringing together world leading biomedical researchers from around New Zealand to tackle cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases.

One of our major roles is to train the country’s next generation of leaders in biomedical research. The projects involve highly innovative biomedical research and are based at one of the following institutions (the Universities of Otago, Canterbury and Auckland, Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington).

Uniquely with these scholarships, you will also be eligible to spend time in other leading laboratories and training centres outside your home base, including overseas, and to access advanced equipment and facilities that can accelerate your research, wherever in NZ those facilities are based. Becoming part of the MWC brings the opportunity to interact with world-leading scientists right across the country, as well as their international collaborators.


If this sounds good to you, the MWC would like you to get in touch and express your interest. Have a look at the available projects listed on this website then download the expression of interest form and send a single PDF file including the completed form, your current CV, academic transcipt and names of any referees if requested by email to or to the project lead supervisor.

To be eligible you must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have either an exceptional academic track record or have a proven track record of research productivity. If you have any doubts about your eligibility, feel free to call us at: 09 923 5533.

Maurice Wilkins Centre: New PHD Scholarships

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Hemholtz resonance to measurement of degree-of-fill in topdressing aircraft hoppers

Fixed wing aircraft are widely used to apply a variety of granular fertilizers, both in pastoral and cropping agriculture. The fertilizer is contained in a wedge-shaped hopper built into the fuselage of the aircraft; loading is via a hatch at the top and discharge is controlled by a clamshell mechanism at the hopper exit. Knowledge of hopper fill is important in normal operation as in principle it provides real time data on application rate. Hopper fill level is also critical to decision making in situations demanding unplanned or evasive manoeuvres following mechanical failure or human error in navigating risky terrain.

The resonant frequency of a hard body cavity obeys is a simple function of the cavity volume. An object placed in the cavity, in this case the particulate fertilizer, changes the volume and hence the resonant frequency Thus, in principle, measurement of the resonant frequency is a potential route to determination of fill level. There are however several technical challenges arising from the particulate nature of the fill material, and the working environment, a propeller-driven aircraft.

The successful candidate will likely have a background in physics or engineering and will provide evidence of well-developed mathematical skills and practical ability.


The project will be carried out with an industrial partner (Ravensdown) and a stipend is offered for a duration of 3 years.


Applicants should provide their CV and a concise statement (maximum of 500 words on one A4 page, submitted both as a Microsoft word document, and in also in pdf format) stating why they should be the successful candidate for this opportunity

Professor Clive Davies
School of Engineering and Advanced Technology

Dr Miles Grafton
Soil and Earth Sciences | Institute of Agriculture and Environment

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School of Engineering and Advanced Technology PhD scholarships

The School of Engineering and Advanced Technology (SEAT) has four Massey doctoral scholarships to award each year. These are very competitive scholarships that are worth $25,000 a year for three years, to cover fees and living expenses. 

Given the very small number of scholarships SEAT will place emphasis on three criteria: 

  • the academic merit of the student; the University rules require a GPA of at least 7.5 out of 9 (A-) based on their last two years of study, together with research experience
  • the development of staff research experience, including having early career staff as co-supervisors
  • the fit of the proposed research with the strategic directions of Massey and SEAT (and therefore this is a good thing to comment on in the relevant sections of the form)

Please ensure that these criteria are addressed in the application.


The main deadline for applications is in November each year . Applications need to be made in collaboration between supervisors and student.

Initial applications should be on the Massey University form.  Please send the form to Michele Wagner, not the College coordinator.

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Environmental hydrology and water quality

PhD scholarships

We invite applications for three (3) PhD scholarships to study nutrient sources, flow pathways and attenuation, high-resolution water quality monitoring and in-stream nutrient cycling in catchments dominated by pastoral land use in the lower North Island.

Our initial research indicates that nitrogen loads measured in the study rivers are significantly smaller than the estimates of nitrogen leached from the root zone in their catchments. We are looking for highly-motivated research students to further develop novel methods and techniques to trace, measure, and model a range of processes including

  • diffuse nutrient flow pathways from farms to rivers
  • nitrogen attenuation capacity in different hydrogeologic subsurface environments
  • high-resolution water quality parameters in streams and rivers, and
  • in-stream nutrient cycling in sensitive agricultural catchments.

These research projects will include field work, laboratory analysis, and simulation modelling components.

The first PhD project (RSA)

Aims to develop novel tools and techniques to measure and trace nutrient losses and flow pathways from diffuse sources in the study catchment. The successful candidate is likely to have an Honours or Masters degree or equivalent, preferably with some research experience, in an area related to soil science, catchment hydrology, environmental tracers, and water quality.

The second PhD project (RSB)

Aims to develop methods and models to assess and map the influences of different catchment characteristics (e.g. topography, soil types, underlying geology, groundwater chemistry) on spatially variable nitrogen attenuation capacity in the subsurface environment across the study catchment. The successful candidate is likely to have a Masters degree or equivalent, preferably with some research experience, in an area related to the biogeochemistry of soils, geological strata and groundwater quality.

The third PhD project (RSC)

Focuses on high-resolution measurements and assessment of water quantity and quality parameters (e.g. nutrient concentrations and periphyton growth) and investigate in-stream nutrient cycling in selected streams and rivers in the study area. The successful candidate is likely to have an Honours or Masters degree or equivalent, preferably with some research experience, in an area related to catchment hydrology, surface water quality monitoring, and nutrient cycling in streams and rivers.


The successful candidates must demonstrate good communication and writing skills, show an ability to take initiatives, and be a good team member. The positions are open to both New Zealand and international candidates.


The PhD studies are part of a collaborative research programme between Massey University’s Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre (FLRC) and Horizons Regional Council. Horizons Regional Council manages the natural resources of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region of New Zealand. The Council has extensive datasets of regional geographical information, the quantity and quality of surface waters and groundwaters, and hydrogeological surveys of the region. Massey University FLRC has a strong team of scientists in the area of environmental hydrology, hydrogeology, and soil and earth sciences. The successful PhD candidates will enjoy full support, guidance and supervision from both University staff and Horizons Regional Council scientists. The PhD candidates will be enrolled within the Soil and Earth Sciences Group at the Turitea Campus of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.  


The Scholarship will pay NZ $27,000 per annum plus fees for a maximum of 3 years.


Interested candidates are invited to send Dr. Ranvir Singh their application including a short description of their research interests, skills and experiences along with a detailed CV. They should also include a sample of their scientific writing (e.g. a published article or conference paper), and three academic references by 15th October 2017. Please specify in your application which of the PhD positions described above that you are applying for.

For further information, please contact 

Dr. Ranvir Singh
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Hydrology and Soil Science
Soil and Earth Sciences Group, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Phone: + 64 6 356 9099 extn 84868
Fax:   + 64 6 350 5632

15 October 2017

Fruit Ripening Physiology/Biochemistry

School of Food and Nutrition PhD scholarships

New Zealand's horticultural export sector is experiencing rapid growth.  This expansion is based on sale of premium quality products that attract premium prices.  Achieving premium quality in distant markets imposes stringent demands on our ability to predict quality at out-turn for batches of products earlier in their storage life.  We are seeking a student to characterise biochemical and physiological changes during late stages of apple maturation.  This will include measuring the activity of a wide range of enzymes associated with the onset of ripening, as well as physiological and metabolite measurements.  Our ideal candidate has a strong background in biochemistry and enzyme kinetics and an interest in postharvest research and fresh product quality.  The study forms part of a larger collaboration between Massey University and NZ Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited so the candidate will be part of a team focused on supporting our high-value export industries. 


This is a three-year project, which will commence as soon as possible in 2017.  It is a collaborative effort between Massey University and Plant & Food Research.


Professor Julian Heyes, Massey University
Dr David Brummell, Plant & Food Research


The successful candidate will receive a tax-free living allowance of NZ$25,000 per year for 3 years and their PhD fees will be paid for that period.


The student will be based at Massey University's Manawatu campus, but most of their laboratory work will be conducted in the adjacent Plant & Food Research laboratories.  Both locations are in Palmerston North, New Zealand.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • a Bachelor of Science degree plus a suitable postgraduate research degree (Honours or Masters);
  • laboratory experience in biochemistry, with a particular emphasis on enzymology;
  • a highly motivated attitude;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills.

Non-native English speakers must also fulfil the academic language requirements for postgraduate study at Massey University.

For further information on postgraduate study at Massey University please see:


To apply for this role, please send a cover letter that includes a statement about your career plan, a CV, and contact details for at least two referees to Professor Julian Heyes,

Suitable candidates will be interviewed in person, or by video conferencing depending on location.

Closing Date
4 August 2017

Health - interventions for reducing smoking and obesity

Massey University College of Health doctoral scholarship

Do you want to help reduce the biggest killers of Māori & Pacific people?
Have you wondered why Māori & Pacific smoking and obesity rates are not going down?

A PhD scholarship is available in the School of Public Health at Massey University to work with Associate Professor Marewa Glover on the potential role of new personal technologies and internet delivered interventions for reducing smoking or obesity related disease and premature death.

Associate Professor Glover's current studies include a trial of a web & community delivered team weight loss competition, qualitative work exploring parents' attitudes to infant & toddler weight; and, a survey of vapers. She is interested in supporting candidates wanting to develop skills in critical public health or kaupapa Maori theory. Suitable topic realms would be risk reduced alternatives to tobacco smoking (e.g. vaping and newer smokeless technologies); and obesity reduction, particularly utilizing incentives and connected technologies.

The New Zealand Health Strategy wants everyone to use new technologies to better manage their health. For this to happen we will need health professionals, researchers and academics knowledgeable in this topic. This is an exciting opportunity for a motivated and organized student to develop knowledge in innovative public health strategies.


The scholarship is to support an academically excellent student undertaking full-time doctoral studies at Massey University. Applicants should have a Bachelor's degree with appropriate Honours or Master's degree in Public Health, Health Sciences, Psychology, Sociology or related fields. To be eligible, students must fulfill all conditions to the Massey University Doctoral Programme. Applicants will require a Grade Point Average of 6.0 or better (on a 9 point scale). This is equivalent to an average grade of B+.


The scholarship includes a stipend of $25,000 per annum for a maximum period of 3 years. Tuition fees are not included.


  • Strong academic record.
  • Strong initiative, interest, enthusiasm and tenacity.
  • Good time management and organizational skills.
  • Excellent communication skills.

status and application process

This project is available for an immediate start. Applications close as soon as a suitable candidate can be found, and the PhD student should be enrolled at Massey University by 1 August 2017. Applicants should send a copy of their curriculum vitae, a statement of interest and the names and contact details of three referees to:

Associate Professor Marewa Glover

Marine Biotechnology

Deakin University - Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Jointly funded by Deakin University and Plant and Food Research, Nelson, NZ.

Supervisors: Professor Colin Barrow, Chair in Biotechnology, Deakin University and Dr. Sue Marshall, Plant and Food Research.

At least one PhD Scholarship is to be awarded to carry out a joint project with Deakin University in Geelong, Australia and Plant and Food Research, New Zealand. The scholarship of A$25,000 per annum will be awarded to a student graduating with a First Class Honours degree in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or a related field. Applicants should be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or New Zealand citizens.

The project involves the discovery and development of new lipases for enzymatic concentration of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and microbial oils. These lipases will have application in functional foods and pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the project will have three parts. Firstly, the student will mine published and proprietary genomic databases to identify potentially useful lipases that will then be cloned and tested. Secondly, the student will isolate and test new lipases from fish and microbes. Thirdly, the student will take part in the development of novel immobilization technologies that will enable the new lipases to be used in a commercial setting.

The successful applicant will be expected to spend most of their time at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, but may spend up to one year in Nelson, New Zealand. Applicants are encouraged to apply for Australian Postgraduate Awards (APAs) and Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarships (DUPRS).


Interested candidates please forward your CV and expression of interest to Professor Colin Barrow or Dr Susan Marshall

No Date

Minimising Gambling Harm

The HRC is administering the Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm Career Development Awards, which are funded by the Ministry of Health. Applicants are invited to apply for Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral awards to support the career development of emerging health researchers seeking to prevent and minimise gambling-related harm for Māori and Pacific populations in New Zealand. Applicants will apply using the standard HRC Māori or Pacific career development forms, which will be available on the HRC's website.

Masters: Award components: Stipend of $10,000; course fees up to $10,000; working expenses of $1,600 Term of award: 1 year Number of awards available: 1

Postdoctoral: Award components: Stipend and working expenses up to a total of $410,000 Term of award: 4 years Number of awards available: 1

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Plant Evolutionary Genetics

Plant Evolutionary Genetics PhD scholarship

A three year PhD scholarship is available to study in the broad field of Plant Evolutionary Genetics

Project description

We are seeking an enthusiastic individual for a PhD scholarship in the field of Plant Evolutionary Genetics. Research may be in the areas of population genetics, quantitative genetics, molecular evolution, genetic pathway evolution, polyploidy, speciation, or related. All projects will likely have a strong bioinformatics component. Ultimately, the project, training, and supervisor team will be tailored to suit the interests of the successful candidate.

This position will be funded by a Massey University Doctoral Scholarship. Successful applicants will have a BSc Honours, MSc or equivalent in botany, genetics, molecular biology or a similar field.

The position is available in the lab of Dr Vaughan Symonds at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The lab group has diverse interests that include population genetics, molecular evolution, quantitative genetics, and conservation


To apply for the position, please send the following to Dr Symonds with “PhD Scholarship” as the subject:

(1) letter of interest

(2) CV

(3) academic transcripts

(4) the names and contact details for three references


The deadline for applications is July 31, 2017. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. International applicants are welcomed. Starting date is flexible but should be no later than 15 December 2017. Please feel free to email any questions about the scholarship or project.

Vaughan Symonds, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Plant Molecular Genetics
Massey University
Palmerston North, New Zealand

July 31

Sleep in Junior Athletes

Sleep in Junior Athletes


The Sleep/Wake Research Centre and the School of Sport and Exercise at Massey University are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate with an interest in both sleep science and sport and exercise science to join a project to look at the effects of extending the sleep of elite junior athletes to improve their performance.

Elite junior athletes have demanding training schedules which must be balanced with other non-sporting commitments resulting in persistent time constraints and an accelerated pace of life. Training volume and schedules, in particular those that involve early morning sessions may restrict sleep and some elite athletes obtain less than 7 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. This is a concern as the recommended sleep duration for teenagers (13-18yrs) is 8-10 hours and the International Olympic Committee identifies adequate sleep as one of the components of a balanced lifestyle for elite child athletes. Additionally, there is evidence that sleep extension can improve athletic performance and that sleep restriction is detrimental to immune health, mental health and increases accident risk.

The overall aim of this project is to investigate the sleep of elite junior athletes in New Zealand and its effects on their sporting performance, mental health and cognition. The project will:

  1. Compare the sleep habits and practices of athletes in sport(s) which have predominantly early morning training schedules (e.g. rowing and swimming) to that of athletes in sports for which training occurs later in the day (e.g. hockey, athletics)
  2. Compare the effects of different sleep habits/practices on athletes’ sporting performance, mental health and cognition;
  3. Implement a sleep extension intervention to investigate the effects of increased total sleep on athletes’ sporting performance, mental health and cognition.


Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Leigh Signal, Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Massey University
Co-supervisor: Jennifer Zaslona, Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Massey University
Co-supervisor: Associate Professor David Rowlands, School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University
Co-supervisor: Professor Philippa Gander, Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Massey University


Suitable candidates must meet the requirements for enrolling in a PhD at Massey University and have a strong background in one or more of the following fields: sleep and circadian science, sport and exercise science or human physiology. Entry requirements for a PhD at Massey University can be found here


A scholarship of NZ$25,000 per annum tax free for 3 years is available. The candidate will be responsible for fees.


The position is based at the Wellington campus of Massey University.


Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to A/Prof Leigh Signal (

Candidate selection will begin in January 2017 and continue until the position is filled. The scholarship must commence by August 2017.

Sport and Exercise

The School of Sport and Exercise in Wellington seeks a full time research-ready student (ie. has Hons or PGDip with research component) who might interested in starting any time from May to about Aug-Sept 2017 latest. Support via a Scholarship for fees and reasonable stipend is available (depending on start date).

Title: two research projects investigating the effect of nano-metal impregnated materials on microvascular and neuromuscular responses to exercise loading in healthy and older-aged individuals.

 Key accountabilities:


  • Under the supervision of the Research Manager and Dr Rowlands, conduct and complete the assigned research projects to time deadlines and quality specifications required for publishable research.
  • Complete project data process and analysis, and project administration tasks with due diligence according to terms of reference.
  • Assist in preparation of science reports and manuscript drafts for submission to journals, which will comprise the majority of Masters thesis.
  • Manage the recruitment, motivation and participant care
  • Assist with participant logistics and be responsible for elements of data collection and processing.
  • Ensure high-quality data collection, processing of test data.
  • Any other related roles congruent with Masters study and work within a contracted project.

 Skills required and/or learnt:

  • Experience working with athletes and/or aged or clinical population.
  • Ideal but not essential: demonstrated competence and understanding operating a range of equipment including;
    • Near-infrared spectroscopy, occlusion methods.
    • Operation of treadmill, conduct VO2max test, on-line respiratory gas analysis
    • Mixed models in SAS
    • EMG experience
    • Force platform experience and biomechanical analysis of force plate data
    • Scientific writing and expectation of co-authoring 1-2 publications.
    • Experienced in working in research trials or experiments.
    • Proven competency in data entry and processing in Excel.
    • Relevant experience in a clinical, hospital, exercise physiology, or human physiology laboratory environment.


Personal attributes and behaviours:

  • Critical and innovative thinking
  • Problem solver and proactive solution finder
  • Strong inter-personal and motivational skills,
  • Excellent written and spoken English
  • Punctual, reliable, responsible, flexible
  • Pleasant personality, sociable
  • Assertive decision maker and communicator
  • Team player
  • Troubleshooter, analytical and critical thinker, and problem solver
  • Spots, predicts, and deals with issues assertively and rapidly
  • Finishes tasks to highest standard



Ideal start May 2017. But possible to start up to early Sept 2017 latest. 12 months full time.


Domestic tuition fees.

Study stipend. Quantity depending on start date.

Veterinary Pathology

Massey University IVABS Masterate Scholarship in Veterinary Pathology

The purpose of this IVABS Masterate Scholarship is to encourage veterinary graduates who plan a career in veterinary diagnostic pathology to undertake university postgraduate study in this field. The Scholar will be expected to develop expertise in the diagnosis of animal diseases in preparation for seeking specialist qualifications in pathology, and to gain experience in tertiary education by providing laboratory and lecture instruction in veterinary diagnostic pathology.  

The value of the Scholarship will be thirty thousand ($30,000) dollars per annum (tax free) for two years.  In addition to the emolument, the scholarship shall cover tuition fees for an MVSc or MVS. The Scholarship shall be tenable at Massey University, Palmerston North.

The Scholarship is open to students who hold a BVSc degree able to be registered in New Zealand and who qualify to register as a candidate for the degree of Master of Veterinary Studies (MVS). The Scholar will be expected to participate in the routine necropsy service provided by IVABS Pathobiology Section, which includes a range of domestic and wildlife animal species. In addition, the Scholar will be required to conduct a research project under the supervision of an IVABS pathologist. The academic programme will be directed towards preparing for American College of Veterinary Pathologists Board Certification.  Candidates must be New Zealand or Australian citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand or Australia.

Every person who wishes to be considered for the IVABS Scholarship should apply on the application form provided by the Institute (obtained from or Massey Contact, email:

Informal enquiries can be addressed to John Munday ( ph 06 356 9099 ext 85172

No Date

France - Eiffel Doctoral Scholarships for New Zealand students

These scholarships are offered by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to international students for doctoral studies in France. Since 2006, one of these scholarships per year has been offered to a NZ student. 

For further details visit:

No Date

France - Travel grants for New Zealanders

Every year the French Embassy in Wellington allocates a few Hexagone travel grants to New Zealand students to pursue their studies in France for postgraduate studies at Honours or Master's level. The travel grant consists of 2000 euros (approx NZ$3,800) per student. Preference is given to Political Science, Law, Economics, Business and Management, Science or Engineering students. The student must enrol at a French University or Grande Ecole for at least six months. Travel grants are offered in combination with a social security scholarship for the duration of the studies in France.

From 2009 one Hexagone applicant each year will be awarded the Hexagone principal scholarship worth 12,000 euros, for studies in France at Master's level. Note that a number of courses are taught in English. For a list of available courses, visit:

For further information contact:, or

No Date

Germany - Environmental Governance & Forest Ecology & Management

Environmental Governance (MEG) and Forest Ecology and Management (FEM) International MSC Programmes at Freiburg University, Germany.

The MSc course 'Environmental Governance' focuses on socio-economic issues, whereas 'Forest Ecology and Management' concentrates on ecological aspects. Both courses are taught entirely in English and have a duration of two years.

For further information visit: and

Saudi Arabia - Undergraduate Scholarships for New Zealanders

A limited number of scholarships are available for NZ students wishing to study in Saudi Arabia. Two types of scholarships are available - Muslim and Non-Muslim Students 1-2 Scholarships per year at King Saud Maile University, and Muslim Students 2-3 Scholarships per year at Islamic Male University of Medina. Criteria: Students must be between 18-25 yrs; hold a valid NZ passport; be required to undertake Arabic Language studies for two years; after completion of language training, the scholarship holder may study undergraduate programmes at any Faculty (except medicine or engineering). The Scholarship provides: free tuition; free text books in Arabic language; single person accommodation; monthly stipend of NZ$400 per month; subsidised meals from University cafeteria; medical expenses; annual return air ticket. For further information contact: Tony Davies. NZ Education Attache to the GCC, NZ Embassy, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh. email:

No Date

Eligibility and admission requirements

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